Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars. —Kahlil Gibran
If you have a child in your life, chances are you’ve had this conversation:
“If our house was on fire and you could only save one person, who would you choose?”
The correct answer is supposed to be, “All of you.” But can you imagine saying, “I won’t save any of you. Instead, I’ll save the kids across the street who don’t know me yet”?
This is what is happening in Jesus’ delay, right? Jesus waits because He wants everyone to hear the Gospel. Meanwhile, men, women, and children die for His name. It’s true that Jesus allows His children to suffer for the sake of those who are not yet His children.
Do you struggle with this—that the temporary suffering of God’s children is worth giving eternal life to the lost? If so, consider the cross—the Father determined that the temporary suffering of His Son was worth the lost being found.
Giving everyone a chance to experience grace is the entire reason Christ came to earth, and it’s the reason He refrains from returning. Because the day that Jesus comes back is the very last day the lost can be saved.
It doesn’t make it easy, but it makes it worth it.
With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise … He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:8-9)
God isn’t slow. He is patient, because the longer He waits the larger His household becomes. So what can we do to honor those who are suffering in the wait?
- We can share the Gospel since this is why Jesus delays.
- Usually we pray, “Lord, take this burden off my back.” But our brothers and sisters being persecuted pray, “Lord, strengthen my back for this burden.” Let’s join them in that prayer.
Jesus, it makes me almost jealous of the intimacy that must come in the communion of persecution. Awaken this fire in me. Fan the Holy Spirit in me so that together we pray, we share, and we shift our perspectives regarding the hard things in life. Amen.